“This enters in one ear and goes out the other.” – Pope Francis on reports of heresy

Two big stories in the news this week.

First, the Vatican has issued yet another warning to the LCWR, an umbrella group riddled with dissent and heresy that represents about 80 percent of American nuns.

Second, Cardinal Walter Kasper has brushed off the warning and assured the nuns they have no reason to worry. “I am also considered suspect!” he laughed. More interesting is this reported exchange between Cardinal Kasper and Pope Francis:

Kasper is in the U.S. to discuss his book, “Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.” It includes a blurb from Pope Francis, who has made mercy a cornerstone of his ministry since he was elected last year.

On Monday, Kasper told the audience that after Francis praised him by name just days after his election, “an old cardinal came to him and said, ‘Holy Father, you cannot do this! There are heresies in this book!’ ”

As Francis recounted the story to Kasper, he said, the pope smiled and added: “This enters in one ear and goes out the other.”

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. You might recall the pope’s famous magazine interview last September:

“It is amazing to see the denunciations for lack of orthodoxy that come to Rome. I think the cases should be investigated by the local bishops’ conferences, which can get valuable assistance from Rome. These cases, in fact, are much better dealt with locally.”


3 thoughts on ““This enters in one ear and goes out the other.” – Pope Francis on reports of heresy

  1. Those “old cardinals” and their silly hang-ups about “heresies”. Best just to ignore them and go about your business.

    This supposed “crackdown” on the LCWR will start once there is an actual consequence to their actions. It currently only exists in the imaginations of Cardinal Kasper and the media.

    Muller makes some veiled threats and demands, but primarily expresses “concerns” and pleas for “dialogue”. I fail to see any tangible difference between what Kasper wants done and what Muller is actually doing.

    Were the LCWR to start bringing priests to their conferences to offer the Latin Mass however, ask the FFI how that turns out.


  2. A striking feature of American Catholic life since the council is the near-disappearance of nuns. Those orders (80% of American nuns) have liberalized themselves into oblivion; they’re dying out. (In my past life as a journalist I visited the motherhouse of what used to be a powerhouse order; in a big, mostly empty building, they had one postulant, in her 50s.) My semi-trad parish (the main Mass is Tridentine), run by friars, had some of that order’s small branch of sisters running the school, but then we lost the school; part of the church’s downsizing in its old Northeast home base as it has run out of the financial and social capital it earned before the council.

    Catholics liberals 50 years ago thought like LBJ’s Great Society: they assumed that the boom inherited from a more conservative culture would last forever, only it would be even better once they’d liberalized the institutional church, streamlining it for the space age. The new Mass and habitless nuns would get the lapsed to come back, vocations would go through the roof, and maybe the Protestants would come back. We know what really happened: lots of people left the church instead.

    Francis is the old libs’ last hurrah. He will do a lot of damage but the church can’t change its essentials. The only remaining practicing Catholics are traditionalists or conservatives. The American church 50 years from now will be almost recovered to what it was like before the council, except it will be small.


  3. Jeff,

    Regarding the “in one ear out the other” comment, you really HAVE to read this by Michael Brendan Dougherty:


    Like you, I have had some struggles with Pope Francis, though I am still working my way through a lot of the issues. For me, Dogherty has helped place a lot of things in perspective for me, and even show me that perhaps I have had some of those “Catholic Party” tendencies to which he alludes.

    I came across this article in Rod Dreher’s piece here, where I also think Rod offers some helpful insight:



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